What Does It Mean When Dogs Want to Chew Grass?

by Rob Hainer
    Chemicals in your yard can sometimes harm your dog's tummy.

    Chemicals in your yard can sometimes harm your dog's tummy.

    Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Your pup has some kind of sixth sense when it comes to finding that one spot on your lawn you missed the last time you mowed. He scopes out the taller grass and begins to chow down immediately. This is actually normal behavior for dogs, something passed down from their wolf and other ancestors, who commonly eat grass in the wild. However, eating grass can be a sign of a dietary problem and can sometimes be dangerous.

    Dogs have been known to eat just about anything, and grass is no exception. When he's outside and he's bored, why not kill some time chewing on some tasty blades? Chewing on a variety of items -- including your shoes and furniture, unfortunately -- is normal behavior for dogs, especially when they are bored. Grass is an easily accessible option to keep your pup occupied, so he might be looking for entertainment when he heads for the tall grass in the corners of your yard.

    Wolves and other wild canines eat grass regularly in the wild. This adds necessary fiber to their diets, keeping their digestive system working like it should and flushing out internal parasites. When your dog consistently looks for grass to eat while you're with him or when he has other stimulation to keep him from being bored, it's possible he needs more fiber in his diet.

    Your furry friend might occasionally throw up after eating grass, but that doesn't mean he's sick. When he eats grass too fast, it can tickle his throat and cause him to throw up. Eating grass, even when it comes back up, isn't bad for your pup. However, the pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides you use on your lawn are bad for him. Eating a couple blades of grass here and there probably won't build up enough chemicals in his system to hurt him, but chewing on your lawn consistently can poison him. Watch for signs of chemical poisoning including frequent vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Call your vet or the ASPCA animal poison control center at 888-426-4435 if you suspect your dog has ingested too many chemicals from your lawn.

    When your dog is eating grass out of boredom, giving him plenty of exercise and attention can quickly curb his habit. Take him for long walks or toss a tennis ball for some fetch as often as you can, then give him puzzle toys or treat-filled chew toys to keep him occupied when you're gone. Talk to your vet about switching his food to one with higher fiber in case the grass-eating is really your pup trying to tell you what he needs for dinner. As for the chemicals, it's not always realistic to say that you won't treat your lawn to remove weeds or pests, but you can search for some organic options. Or, create a small, raised bed and plant some grass that you don't treat with chemicals just for your pooch. Add a few tasty herbs to his special garden for an extra treat.

    Photo Credits

    • Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

    Trending Dog Behavior Articles

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!